You may remember hearing the amazing story of Rinku Singh and Dinesh Patel a few years ago. They're the Indian teenagers who won a reality show in their native country, earning the right to train in the United States with the hopes of one day reaching the bigs.
Perhaps predictably, their story is now becoming a Disney movie, and it stars none other than Jon Hamm, a diehard baseball fan himself.
Hamm plays agent J.B. Bernstein, the man who came up with the contest, in the movie Million Dollar Arm, which recently started filming in Atlanta. But Hamm is not the only big name in the film. Suraj Sharma, who starred in Life of Pi and Madhur Mittal, of Slumdog Millionaire fame, play Singh and Patel. Alan Arkin, recently nominated for an Academy Award for his performance in Argo, plays a retired baseball scout.
Ryan Fagan of the Sporting News recently visited the set of the movie, where he spoke with Hamm.
"The reason I was attracted to doing the story is it’s a good old-fashioned coming of age father/son type of story, even though there are no fathers and no sons, really," Hamm said. "It’s just a nice story, about hard work, and coming up with a big idea and seeing it through. The fact that it worked out for these guys is a testament to not only the guy with the big idea, but also the work ethic of these two. They were just willing to apply themselves and commit to the program and maximize the opportunity."
Nearly 40,000 cricket players auditioned for the contest held by Hamm's character, J.B. Bernstein, about five years ago. Singh won while Patel finished second, and they were both flown to Los Angeles to train with USC's acclaimed pitching coach, Tom House. Singh, 24, is currently in the Pittsburgh Pirares minor league system, while Patel moved back to India after getting released by the Pirates in 2010.